Churchill Downs to Offer Free General Admission Friday; Coincides with Start of New Paddock Concert Series

May 14, 2011 Darren Rogers

As a special “thank you” to the people of Louisville and the Kentuckiana region for another successful Kentucky Derby Week, Churchill Downs will offer free general admission on Friday, May 13.

The special 11-race twilight program, which begins at 2:45 p.m. ET, kick starts Churchill Downs’ revamped Friday Happy Hours presented by Budweiser Select, which includes the new postrace Paddock Concert Series.

For five consecutive Fridays between May 13 and June 10, Churchill Downs will present concerts in the paddock area after the races that showcase rising artists:

  • May 13 – The Villebillies (eclectic rap, rock and other genres)
  • May 20 – Keller Williams (combines the elements of bluegrass, folk, alternative rock and other genres)
  • May 27 – Dawn Landes and the Hounds (country/folk and indie-rock)
  • June 3 – Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons (indie-rock)
  • June 10 – Wax Fang (experimental psychedelic rock)

The first of 11 live races on each of those Fridays will be 2:45 p.m. ET. Typically, the last live race is run just before 8 p.m. ET and the concerts will begin shortly after the finale.

On Fridays between May 20 and June 10, general admission will be its usual $3 until 7 p.m. but will increase to $10 thereafter.

“We want to encourage the area’s casual fan-base and entertainment seekers to come to Churchill Downs early to experience our live racing and Friday Happy Hours scene,” Churchill Downs racetrack president Kevin Flanery said. “Those late arrivals that are only interested in the music will be charged a premium, which is very reasonable to see the caliber of these artists.”

Friday’s performance by The Villebillies, who performed at last summer’s HullabaLOU Music Festival, will double as an official CD release party.

Admission gates will open on those Fridays at 1:30 p.m. and the first race will be 2:45 p.m. ET. An opening band (The Ladybirds on May 13) will perform between live races starting just before 5 p.m. through 8 p.m. Also, ESPN 680will be on hand for a remote broadcast from 3-6 p.m.

Friday Happy Hours sponsored by Budweiser Select have been repositioned from the old 4-6 p.m. time slot to 6-8 p.m. so patrons have ample time to enjoy food and drink specials after a long day at work. Twelve-ounce Budweiser products, frozen specialty drinks and hot dogs will be specially priced at $2 in the paddock area during that time frame.

The downbeat for the featured performance is expected around 8:15 p.m. and each postrace concert will last approximately 90 minutes. The first 500 people in attendance for the concert will be allowed access into the saddling paddock to watch the concert up close in a VIP Watch Area free of charge.

Reserved ticket packages for the Paddock Concert Series – including a $20 ticket to the Budweiser Select Balcony, which features access to a prime undercover balcony overlooking the paddock and stage, extended drink specials throughout the night and a special gift from Budweiser Select – are available for purchase online at – Churchill Downs’ convenient online box office platform. Customers also can call the Churchill Downs switchboard at (502) 636-4400.

Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2012. The track’s 2011 Spring Meet opened April 30 and continues through July 4. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record seven times and the event will return to the track for its next renewal on Nov. 4-5, 2011. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at

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